WHY THE GRAND PRIX MECHANICS TRUST WAS CREATED
... and its relevance today
The aim of the Trust as stated in the original deeds, reads as follows: -
"The relief of poverty among necessitous Grand Prix mechanics and former grand prix mechanics and the wives, widows, children and other dependants of such persons and for such charitable objects or purposes as the trustees shall in their absolute discretion think fit."
The Trust was created in 1987 when Sir Jackie Stewart, who was competing in Formula 1 at the time, began campaigning for higher standards of safety in the sport, particularly focusing on the dangers mechanics encountered in a live pit lane environment.
He was also aware that unlike today, many of the teams and their mechanics of that era didn’t have the benefit of health insurance, pensions or financial backing which meant that should the mechanic suffer a crippling or fatal injury, he and his family could be put under enormous financial strain.
In light of this, Sir Jackie set up the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust with the support of team owners Ken Tyrrell and Jackie Oliver and the professional support of accountancy firm and charitable trust experts Rawlinson & Hunter. Then, as now, the trustees worked to ensure the Trust was managed efficiently; currently the cost of generating funds represents less than 1% of the Trust's assets.
The Trust exists primarily to help mechanics who have worked in the pit lane at Grand Prix meetings or test sessions at one stage or another in their career so the net is widely spread.
While the role of a mechanic has changed over the years and the standards of safety improved drastically, the Trust still remains as relevant as ever.
Today, there are an increasing number of mechanics who are in need of assistance long after their time in the pit lane. Equally, while teams offer their current mechanics benefits while they are employed by the team, there may not be the same support network available when the mechanics retires.
So while the Trust is important for those who have since retired from the sport, it still plays a crucial role in the lives of those who still work in the pit lane today.